National Fisherman

April 1 is the official start to the blue crab harvest in Maryland. But don't reach for your mallet just yet.

"It's not time for crabs," said Jessica Borowski, a manager at Midtown BBQ and Brew. "It's too cold out."

The crabs seem to agree. The Chesapeake Bay's water temperature hasn't risen enough for the crabs to become active — and catchable.

Consumers set on Maryland crabs will see limited availability for now — and prices to match.

Prices for Chesapeake Bay crabs are typically high at the start of the season, and people who want them in April will have to pay even more than usual. But many consumers are just as happy eating hard-shell crabs from the Gulf Coast — where many local crab houses get their supplies throughout the year — and won't see a price fluctuation.

For now, from Turkey Point to Tangier Sound, the beautiful swimmer, Callinectes sapidus, isn't swimming. Instead of moving to shallower waters where crabbers can catch them, they're staying warm deep in their muddy homes. This year temperatures in the bay for late March were slightly below the historic average for the month — but not dramatically so. It only seems that way compared to last year, when average March water temperatures were unusually high.

Read the full story at the Baltimore Sun>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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